Ray Walston Visits NASA Mission Control
Ray Walston examines a Mercury space capsule displayed in the lobby of NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, during November, 1965.
"It was the thrill of my life. I saw the capsule in which Walter Schirra had first orbited, and I just couldn’t imagine how any man could be confined even for a few hours in such a small place, practically entangled in a maze of wires."
Mr. Walston began his acting career in Houston so the visit was especially meaningful. He said that after watching astronauts practicing rendezvous maneuvers with two mock-up Gemini space capsules, his host, Dick Johnston kiddingly remarked to him, "Now tell me, Ray—how do they get those antennae to come up in your head?"
The actor discovered he had no shortage of fans in the space program. "I was surprised," Ray laughed, "but a string of secretaries followed me getting autographs."
His visit had one more surprise. Houston’s International Airport was fogged in at the time of his departure and so Ray found himself waiting in the VIP lounge with astronaut Alan Shepard. The irony of being "stuck on Earth" was not lost on the pair, when suddenly the door opened and actor Vincent Price arrived. Recognizing both men, Price quipped, "Well, if YOU guys can’t get off the ground, I KNOW I can’t."
Source:"No Flight for Walston" ©Hartford Times, Jan 8, 1966
Photo © NASA
Text ©2010-2011 jh harison
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